Keys To Understanding The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Lesson One - The Rider On The White Horse
The most important prophecy Christ delivered while He was on this earth was the Olivette prophecy. All prophecy really Revolves around this prophecy which was recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 I believe this is the most pivotal prophecy in the Bible. Some commentaries call it "the little apocalypse," and for good reason.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all recorded the gospel of Christ. Why is John the only one of the four gospel writers who did not record the Olivette prophecy? Actually he does, but not in the gospel of John. He records it in the book of Revelation, chapter six. It is in this chapter that John discusses the seven seals-with the emphasis on the first four - otherwise known as the FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE. The word apocalypse - is an untranslated Greek word which means Revelation. In the book of Revelation, John records the seven seals, which are interpreted by Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. So actually, all four of those authors had a version of the Olivette prophecy.
Bible Interprets the Bible
The book of Revelation has many symbols with many different interpretations. However, we must remember that the Bible interprets itself. Most Bible scholars fail to realize this and that is why we see so many bizarre interpretations of the book of Revelation.
Only the true Christ can unlock the seven seals. "And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, bath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof" (Rev. 5:5).
These seven seals are unlocked in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy [Spirit]" (11 Pet. 1:20-21).
No man can interpret the Bible. That is the first lesson we need to learn. We don't have to; because Scripture interprets Scripture itself.
The White Horse
Let's notice the first seal. "And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer"(Rev. 6:1-2).
Men usually assume this refers to Jesus Christ. That is why multiple millions of people are deceived by false religions and a false or counterfeit Christianity! (11 Cor. 4:4; Rev. 12:9). A True Christian is one who follows the True Christ and has the infilling of the True Holy Spirit. So let's make certain we let Christ interpret this first horseman of the apocalypse.
Christ does return to this earth on a white horse. "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth GOETH A SHARP SWORD, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS"(Rev. 19:11-16).
But notice carefully, The true Christ has a SWORD-not a bow.
The man on the white horse (A False Christ, a False Messiah), as described in Revelation 6, is like the other three horsemen of the apocalypse, bringing great suffering upon the earth.
All Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Ride under the Authority and control of Satan Himself. They represent the "Spirit and Power Of Antichrist" The spiritual manifestation of Satan, before the actual Physical appearance of "The Antichrist" The physical embodiment of Satan.
Here in Revelation 19, The True Christ brings abundant peace and joy, after He smashes the rebels.
The prophecies symbolized by the four horsemen began to be fulfilled at Christ's First Coming. The evils continue until His final Second Coming. By far, the most intense suffering is just after the time of the Rapture and before Christ's final Second Coming.
The first horseman is first because he causes the most suffering by far! He goes forth "conquering, and to conquer." The word conquer means "to come off with the victory"(Thayer's Lexicon). This conquering and deception occurs from Christ's First Coming to His Second Coming, all through the church age, the age of grace. The first horseman conquers by deceiving!
The other three horsemen, on the surface, would appear to cause far more serious catastrophes. Actually, the first horseman causes most of the gruesome events of the other three! These catastrophes occur because men are deceived. The first and most deadly horseman is a "False Christ, a False Messiah" representing the Spirit of Antichrist, bringing rebellion, disobedience and religious deception. As he rides he is bringing the "Spirit and Power of Antichrist" upon the world - before the Antichrist's actual physical appearance! And yet men are so casual and shallow in their religious interests that they fail to see this. Let's allow Christ to unlock this first seal for us.
Mankind has no idea how much suffering is caused by religious deception. "And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming , and of the end of the world?" (Matt. 24:1-3).
Christ was addressing only a small group of His own disciples not the world. This was only His small inner circle of believers. The focus of the message was on the "Last Days" or the "End Times", or if you like, the END OF THIS AGE. Not only does Christ give the signs of the end times, He gives the signs of the end of the end times! He gives specific details to watch for!
Now notice the first and most important warning Christ gave them. "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matt. 24: 4-5).
This is the first horseman of the apocalypse! It is not just about the world's deception from false religions. PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE DECEIVED ABOUT CHRIST AND HIS MESSAGE from within Christianity.
The Spirit and Power of Antichrist is and has infiltrated the true Church that Jesus Christ founded and is proclaiming a counterfeit Christianity, a counterfeit holy spirit and a counterfeit Christ. And it gets so bad that some of Christ's own so-called believers are deceived! It is not just those non-christian unbelievers, those that are members of the world's false religions, that are being deceived.
We have to remember that when Jesus gave this Olivette Prophecy, that it wasn't for the Disciples or the generation of that day. It was intended for the end time generation or the "Final Generation", those of us who would be alive on the earth just before his return. That they would be deceived into believing a false message about the person of Christ while rejecting His true message. These are people who were given the "Seed Of Faith" and had God's precious truth at sometime during their lives. (Matt Chap. 13) Then they rejected it for false religion and a false Christianity!
Do we see how deadly this first horseman of the apocalypse is?! It gets so bad that in the "Last days", or the "End Times" many of the true Bible Believing Christians get killed because of world wide religious deception! "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill You: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake" (Matt. 24:9). Those that afflict and kill the True Christians will believe they are doing God A favor.
The 20th century could well be labeled "the century of martyrs". Thousands of True and Faithful Christian brothers and sisters throughout the world have been imprisoned, tortured, and murdered on account of their faith. In fact, more Christians have been killed for their faith during the last century then in all previous centuries combined.
"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:12). The word love is from the Greek word agape, which means God's own love. God gave His most precious gift of love and they let it wax cold. That prophecy is being fulfilled this very minute in God's Church!
The word many- should read majority- . So the MAJORITY OF GOD'S OWN PEOPLE ARE LETTING THEIR LOVE WAX COLD IN THIS END TIME! It's the same old "Backslidden" Laodicean problem related in Revelation 3:14-20. There is no worse tragedy for God's own people. Even they are struck by the arrows from the bow of the first horseman. These are Christ's own words WARNING us. THIS is His STRONGEST WARNING TO US! Yet even most people in God's Church take it lightly and are deceived.
This tragedy has been unfolding for almost 2,000 years. But it gets 100-fold worse in this end time! It all happens because they are deceived by the first horseman of the apocalypse.
The literal Greek in Luke's account states, "See that you are not led astray" (Luke 21:8). Remember, Christ was talking to His own disciples about the end time deceptions that would take place in the future. Only the saints can be LED ASTRAY because only they have or had the truth! This prophecy is about God's Church being taught God's precious truth and then being deceived. They don't just stumble . They are led away from God!
This is the same end-time problem prophesied in (11 Thessalonians 2, the book of Malachi) and in many other prophecies. God's own people are deceived about Christ's message.
The Spirit Of Antichrist - End Time Deception
"And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world". (1John:4:3)
The Bible tell us that the end times will be dominated by the Spirit of Antichrist - the rider on the White Horse going forth to "conquer and deceive"
Here is a very revealing verse. "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (v. 14). The word end here is not the same as the Greek word used for the end of the age (see v. 3). Thayers Lexicon defines the word "end" in verse 14 this way: "In the Greek writing, always the end Of SOME ACT OR STATE, but not the end of a period of time ... what end is intended the reader must determine by the context."
So what is really ending? When the Gospel has been preached around the world as a witness, then that work of the Church will end. It will be the end of the Church era (The Period of Grace) The next occurrence will be the Rapture of The True Church. Then will come the "Great Tribulation" followed by the beginning of the Kingdom era (The Millennium) or the Revelation of God's Church.
The Gospel of the Kingdom was not preached around the world from the first century until the last. Otherwise, Christ could not have said what He did in Matthew 24:14! So when we see the Gospel being preached around the world, as it is today, we should know that we are in the end times or the Last Days. But when that work ceases, WE ARE IN THE VERY END OF THE END TIME!
As we enter the 21st Century we are seeing a GREAT PROPHETIC TURNING POINT in this world and in God's Church. THE WHOLE WORLD MUST COME TO SEE THAT! We entered into a time Of NO MORE DELAY. Satan, no doubt, was then cast to this earth (Rev. 12:9). Satan's own wrath greatly intensifies the world's problems (Rev. 12:12). Then he persecutes the woman, or God's True Church.
Only "A Very Few - A Little Flock - A Small Remnant" of God's people are not deceived by Satan, so God will protect them and remove (Rapture) (Luke 21:34-36.) (I Thessalonians 4:16-17) them out of the way from Satan's greatest wrath-the Great Tribulation (Revelation 3:10) But God's word prophesied that many professors in God's Church would be"Backslidden" and deceived shortly before that and would be Left Behind, to have to go into the Tribulation ( 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).
The first horseman of the apocalypse is striking a powerful blow on God's end-time Church!
The abomination of desolation, The Beast, the Spirit of, and the soon embodiment of; the Antichrist, is beginning to rise in power just as fast. That is why Christ mentions it immediately after discussing the Gospel being preached around the world. "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (who so readeth. let him understand:)"(Matt. 24:14-15).
The Gospel around the world also contained a warning of the revival of the old Roman Empire ( i.e. The European Union) -which is to become the home and center of the abomination of desolation, The Beast, the embodiment of the spirit of the Antichrist. After the Gospel was preached around the world, you can see the abomination of desolation rise to power, The Antichrist, rises fast. Shortly, God's people in Judaea (called Israel today) must flee when they see this Romanized European army led by the Antichrist.
Christ prophesied that His people would understand. Do you understand this prophecy? If you don't truly understand it, then you may have already been deceived by the first horseman!
Luke's version of the Olivette prophecy states that the abomination of desolation is an army or armies. "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the DESOLATION thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter there into" (Luke 21:20-21). Again, God's own people (The Israelites) are told to flee at this time. But the "Backslidden" Laodiceans, (the "Left Behind" Sleeping Apostate Christians) won't flee because they are so deceived-by the first horseman of the apocalypse!
Those armies that will surround Jerusalem are about to enslave and destroy Israel. This abomination is going to leave many nations in "DESOLATION" shortly before Christ returns.
If God's people didn't even recognize the mighty Work of God's Ture Holy Spirit , HOW COULD THEY EVER KNOW WHEN TO FLEE?! We recognize the end-time work of the Holy Spirit by faith and we live by faith. Now is the time to build that STRONG FAITH.
When the Gospel stops going around the world, we can begin to watch for SPECIFIC SIGNS-like the rapid collapse of the Peace of Israel, the rise of the abomination of desolation or the Antichrist, serious problems in God's Church, nuclear powers out of control and other serious signs we'll mention later.
The Laodicean Church will be Left Behind!
The first horseman of the apocalypse DECEIVES PEOPLE ABOUT CHRIST'S MESSAGE. Satan gets their focus off the person of Christ and off His message. That also happens to God's own Church, but in varying degrees.
God puts the focus on His own Church in this great religious deception. There is an important reason for this. Worldly religions are easily deceived and have never had God's revealed truth. So they don't understand the Bible. Only a tiny percentage of "Professing Christianity" has ever understood God's word. Satan has to be more subtle and powerful to deceive God's own people. Christ speaks more directly to His Church because their salvation is at stake. The world has not yet been called (John 6:44). They will get their chance in the second resurrection.
God's elect today will either be translated and raptured at Christ's return or they are Left Behind to eventually be thrown into the lake of fire! Which group do you belong to? The Ones that will be Taken (Raptured) or the ones "Left Behind"?
God actually discusses two different groups OF HIS OWN SAINTS in the last few verses of Matthew 24. Two of them are mentioned in verse 40: "Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.(behind)" The two are two groups within the Church. Luke's version explains this verse better. "I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left (Behind)" (Luke 17:34), These two groups are in God's Church and are in the same BED or FIELD together so to speak. That just means both are in God's own Family. God is speaking spiritually.
"Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left (Behind)" (Matt. 24:41). Woman is a Bible symbol for church and is signified as being the "bride of Christ" The two women are both grinding at the mill. That means there are two separate groups of Christians within the church, but both of them are part of God's Church. Both are grinding at the mill-teaching much of God's truth. But one group of Christians has a serious flaw. The Greek reads "in the mill." Both groups of Christians are in God's temple (or Church) but one group (The Backslidden) reside in the outer court (Rev. 11:1-3).
They have a Holy Spirit problem. They are Spiritually Asleep, Spiritually Dead and can't be corrected or reprehended by God. God is not going to take them to a place of safety. They will be Left Behind to go through the Great Tribulation because of a lukewarm Backslidden attitude. One group of Christians are "Spiritually alert". The other group of professing Christians are "Spiritually asleep". Their problem revolves around the work of Christ through the True Holy Spirit who is preaching God's Gospel around the world. If we look closely, a serious problem can be seen.
When the Bride Groom Comes for His Bride
Christ referred to the end time church in Matthew 25 and He likened them to "Ten Virgins" five of whom were spiritually alert as signified by the fullness of the "Oil Of The Spirit" and five who were "foolish" and spiritually asleep, Backslidden, who's oil had run out.
Five were awake and alert, waiting for the return of the "Bride Groom"(Christ). Five were Backslidden being asleep, being "foolish" and not awake or alert or waiting for the return of the "Bride Groom" (Christ), their "Spiritual Oil" Had Run out.
" Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them. But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." (Matthew 25:1-10)
This lukewarm group of Backslidden Christians within the Church are NOT READY for the Rapture. "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matt. 24:42-44).
Why are they not ready? Their watching is NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Luke says "watch ye" or you-individually-must watch or you'll end up in the lukewarm Backslidden Church and be "Left Behind". They will be left behind along with all unbelievers, to be plunged into the Tribulation.
We are commanded to watch for a reason. We must warn the world-and even more importantly, GOD'S OWN LAODICEANS! Again, THEIR SALVATION IS AT STAKE!
There is no point in watching if we don't WARN. The Laodiceans (The spiritually asleep) don't see God's most urgent warning message. Some people say we lack love and are attacking our brethren. We are not attacking, but we are WATCHING and WARNING! God uses us to rebuke them in love (Rev. 3:19). That is because their own love is WAXING COLD.
God relates to us why He can't reveal His message to the Backslidden Laodiceans-even the ones who are grinding at the mill (some of them are not even doing that). "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made RULER over his household, to give them meat in due season?" (v. 45). One group of Christians (The spiritually alert) are referred to as the "faithful and wise servants." God has made them "RULERS over their households" Thayers lexicon defines ruler this way: "set one over a thing, (in charge of it), to conduct the spirit led work of God."
The word ruler used here is the same word used in Matthew 25:23-24: "His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee RULER over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed."
We Must prepare for God's coming government today. To be ready to implement it in God's Millennial Kingdom! God says fifty percent of the Christian Church (The Spiritually alert) will submit to His government. The other Fifty percent (The Spiritually asleep- the Backslidden ) won't learn that lesson and shall lose their salvation, that is if they ever had true salvation in the first place! (Matt. 25:1-10). Rebellion against God's government is the main reason.
The Bible was originally written in a scroll without chapter breaks. The chapter breaks were inserted by men. The last few verses of chapter 24 should be followed by the first ten verses of Matthew 25-without a chapter break. It's all one story flow.
That way people can better see the terrifying penalty the Laodiceans must pay for their Spritual Emptiness or lack of Spiritual Oil. Without the chapter break, the impact is much stronger. Perhaps now you can better understand why - we so vigorously warn the Laodiceans. If we truly love the Backslidden Laodiceans, how can we not warn them? The first horseman's single most monstrous destruction is inflicted on God's own Church. Many thousands of them shall die during the Great Tribulation in a few short years!
We can't rule with Christ in His Millennial Kingdom until we learn to be ruled by God!
God's Government and The Millennial Kingdom
Worldly religions have always rejected God's government, which is based on God's law, the Ten Commandments. Now God's own people have the same problem. That is why the first horseman of the apocalypse can so easily deceive them. They don't want God to totally rule them!
Grinding at the mill is not enough. Working in the harevest fields is not enough. God still has to totally and unconditionally rule us! The government of God is what separates the two women grinding at the mill. God's own Laodicean Church is that one woman who is grinding at the mill, but is still left behind to face the Tribulation.
The Church that is ruled by God does God's Work. But what is that Work? It is to "give them meat in due season" which is watching and warning the Laodiceans and the whole world. Our primary job is to not only preach the Gospel around the world-though we do preach the Gospel. The emphasis of our message here is to watch and warn. It is a season to warn! And only a short span of time is left to do that job.
We are going to lose our own blood if we don't send this warning message (Ezek. 3 and 33).
We are now in a different season. We now find ourselves in The End Times or The Latter Days. Tragically, the Laodiceans don't know that. Many of them still think their main job is to do what has already been done. "Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing" (v. 46). We must be found doing the right work in the right season! It's not enough to just be doing or just be grinding at the mill. We must deliver the right message or Christ can't use us to do His Work.
What is the reward for doing this job? "Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods"(v. 47). God is going to make us rulers over the whole universe. The word ruler is the same word discussed earlier.
Here is the MOST PROFOUND MESSAGE EVER DELIVERED By GOD! WE MUST BE RULED By GOD'S GOVERNMENT TODAY OR GOD COULD NEVER ALLOW US TO RULE THE VAST UNIVERSE! (Heb. 2:7-8).
We absolutely must see how towering this glory and responsibility is. It is urgently necessary that we learn to be ruled now. Only Jesus Christ teaches us how to be ruled. It's all for our own golden reward! We can't be Laodicean sloppy in this area!
God won't have another Satan on His hands. Lucifer rebelled and wrecked the first creation and much of the universe. That happened for one and only one reason. He would not administer God's government! So Satan rules the first horseman of the apocalypse today-trying to deceive all mankind about God's precious government. He desperately wants to get mankind to follow his rebellion.
Anyone who won't submit to God's government is destined to be deceived by the first horseman! The fruits prove that the true Bible Believing Spirit filled Church has God's government. But every Backslidden Laodicean rejects it. That is exactly why they are Laodicean!
The first horseman of the apocalypse has deceived and is conquering the whole world. But the far greater tragedy is what this deceiving monster has done, and is doing, to God's own people. This horse is galloping over God's own saints-deceiving and destroying probably more saints than at anytime in the history of God's Church! May God help us to heed the roar of His thunderous warning message!
Proceed to Lesson two - The Rider On The Red Horse.